As a women’s football fan who attends as many games as I can, I can only feel sorry for all those girls who worked very hard towards getting a place in the Olympics. Many of them played really well and actually outperformed some of the players selected. You do wonder if those not there are members of the rumoured “face don’t fit” club. In term of players who fully deserve to be there and no questions to be asked : Alex and Jill Scott, Dieke, Asante, Rafferty, Carney, Yankey, Little, Ellen White.
Let’s start with the main example/controversy in the defensive midfield position :
Jessica Fishlock has been in superb form for more than a year for club and country. She is probably the best WSL player this season. Jo Potter with her superb vision and sublime skill has also been fantastic for Birmingham in the last 2 seasons. So who has been selected ahead of those 2. A player who had a poor World Cup and has had a poor 2011 season and a slightly better one in 2012?
Where is the logic here ??
Then you have the unusual selection of 3 center forwards with exactly the same tactical profile : All are fast players who like to run into space and defenders. One of them is not a goalscorer though, as her record is awful as seen in world cups. You also do wonder why at least one of the sub does not have the profile of players like Dowie and Beattie in order to have a plan B in case plan A doesn’t work as seen at the Cyprus Cup v France. Helen Lander being overlooked besides being the in form striker is also worth questioning because she has exactly the same profile as the 3 strikers.
There are questions marks about goalkeepers with Bardsley not playing many games in Sweden and Brown records in term of kicking and handling speaks for itself. To have Telford and Chamberlain instead of those two would have been logical due to form and class.
Other question that need to be asked is why 4 center backs. You can argue that Stoney deserve to be there for her experience and Asante/Dieke as well because they are class player. Then Bradley could be compared to Davies who is as good as her IMO or to Flaherty who ahs been a cornerstone of the Arsenal defence for the last 3 years and has won every title available has much more champions league experience and doesn’t even get a look in, why ?
Another case is Kelly Smith. Quality is not doubt, just fitness really. At the time of squad announcement she had played 15 minutes of club football. Her 30 minutes cameo with 2 goals against Chelsea proved, she can do a job as a supersub but to be a starter would be surprising. Jordan Nobbs who has been superb for her club since her arrival could have been an alternative to Kelly Smith.
You also have 2 wingers in excellent form who arguably should have been there as a back up for Carney and Yankey. Dunia Susi who is flying this season with many goals and assists and Gemma Davison who has won every club trophy in England plus the european one added the WPS title to her collection but doesn’t even get near the squad?
Stephanie Houghton is a superb player who can play anywhere in the back 4 and therefore is an excellent cover for any of those players, she can play also in midfield although her recent club performance there suggest she is a much better player at the back. Strangely enough her main competiton for this multi tasking place was her club team-mate Jenny Beattie , who has the same profile and can cover all 11 positions on the field as she has actually done this season for club, country and university side.
A quick look at the 4 reserves player : Emma Higgins preferred to Carly Telford and Siobhan Chamberlain and rated a better goalkeeper as per Hope Powell word of “no political selection”.
Jess Clarke and Dunia Susi two wingers one of them deserving to be in the 18 while the other one is not the most consistent performer ranging from sublime to average.
Jane Ross a forward who was superb performer with Scotland recently.
Overall no defender or midfield at all in the 4 reserves except if you count Susi as a defender which is not her primary position.
So is it a squad that can bring back a medal, yes definitely can it be gold or silver maybe not but Bronze is surely a target. it is just a shame that form players and class players have been discarded for no explaind reasons and make way for the usual coach’s favorite really. It is also a shame that there are no explanation given to public/fans on why players are left out but that kind of opacity is the usual modus operandi for the England women side. So good luck to team England +2 and hopefully they won’t let their fans down.